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We were soldiers

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Father. Husband. Brother. No man is just a soldier.

Based on the true events of November 1965 in the La Drang Valley of Vietnam, We were soldiers tells the true story of Colonel Hal Moore's (Mel Gibson) extraordinary military service in the first few days of the USA/Vietnam war and his dynamic leadership of the 7th Air Cavalry. It is also a truly remarkable story of courage and honour in the face of extreme adversity - for American and Vietnamese soldiers alike - as we also view the battle from the perspective of the fearless Vietnamese leader, Colonel Ahn, as he plays out this game of violent chess with Moore.

Stranded in the middle of the jungle and surrounded by enemy forces, Moore's young and inexperienced unit of 400 fighting men take on 3000 soldiers of an elite Viet Cong battalion, in a battle of extraordinary ferocity that rages for more than 100 hours. It was an experience that would take Moore to the brink of his physical and emotional endurance and a journey that would force him to question not only the wisdom of the mission, but also the very nature and purpose of the conflict itself.

Theatrical propaganda posters

We were soldiers image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film war La Drang Vietnam cavalry helicopter

Persons of interest

  • Mel Gibson .... Colonel Hal Moore
  • Madeleine Stowe .... Julie Moore
  • Sam Elliott .... Sergeant-Major Basil Plumley
  • Greg Kinnear .... Major Bruce "Snakeshit" Crandall
  • Chris Klein .... Lieutenant Jack Geoghegan
  • Josh Daugherty .... Ouelette
  • Barry Pepper .... Joe Galloway
  • Keri Russell .... Barbara Geoghegan
  • Joshua Mclaurin .... Greg Moore
  • Edwin Morrow .... Godboldt
  • Mike White .... SFC Haffner
  • Mark McCracken .... Ed "Too Tall" Freeman
  • Jsu Garcia .... Captain Nadal
  • Lieutenant General Harold G Moore (Retired) .... Author: We were soldiers once... and young
  • Joseph L Galloway .... Author: We were soldiers once... and young
  • Randall Wallace .... Screenwriter
  • Randall Wallace .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

There's something about war that excites some people beyond the ability to think rationally. Politicians like it because it does great things for the economy and for the number of votes they get at the next election. Generals like it because it lets them play with all their toys. Soldiers hate it because it's the last and worst possible solution to any problem, including staying alive. Actors like it because it lets them be heroes. Film studios like it because it puts bums on seats.

We were soldiers picks up the "heavily overpowered group of soldiers defeats huge foreign force" torch that The patriot put down not so long ago. There is lots and lots and lots of shooting, lots and lots and lots of dying and lots and lots and lots of snafus. The heroism of the cavalrymen is beyond doubt (as is the idiocy of their commanders sitting around way back behind the lines drinking whiskey and smoking cigars) while the courage of the Viet Cong is astonishing. To be so ready to throw oneself at the enemy is abnormal.

Along side the shooting and killing is a lot of background: the lives of the wives back home, waiting for their worst fears to come true, fearing the worst of every telegram, every day lived in doubt as to whether they're a wife or a widow. These vignettes humanise the soldiers in a way that male bonding cannot: each death touches the lives of more than just the man who stood beside him.

It's a long film (2¼ hours) so make sure that your bladder's empty before you watch it (or have the remote handy) and be prepared to witness the unending horror that is war.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Disc: Single side, single layer
  • Features:
    • Commentary: Randall Wallace
    • Deleted scenes: (25 min)
    • Documentary: Making of: Getting it right
    • Spots: UK Radio (1), UK TV (4)
    • Trailers: UK theatrical, teaser
  • Languages: English
  • Picture: Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (High level violence)

Surveillance time

133 minutes (2:13 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 25 April 2002
DVD rental: 6 November 2002
VHS rental: 6 November 2002
DVD retail: 6 November 2002

Cinema surveillance images

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